Walter Scott

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
/wiki/Walter Scottcreator
"There is a vulgar incredulity, which in historical matters, as well as in those of religion, finds it easier to doubt than to examine."

Walter Scott (later Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet) was a 19th-century author of best-selling historical novels, many set in Bonnie Scotland. Famous works include Waverley, Rob Roy, Ivanhoe (which guest-starred Robin Hood and had a significant effect on subsequent portrayals), and The Bride of Lammermoor (which was adapted into a famous opera). Before venturing into prose fiction, which he published anonymously (although his identity was a poorly-kept secret), Scott was a bestselling narrative poet. His later novels were composed under the combined strain of bankruptcy and severe illness.

Arguably the most famous and influential novelist of the nineteenth century, frequently imitated across Europe and in the United States. Among the novelists owing him a profound debt: James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Alessandro Manzoni, and Leo Tolstoy.

Notoriously, Mark Twain "sank" Scott in Huckleberry Finn.

Works by Walter Scott with their own trope pages:

Walter Scott provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Alternate History: Redgauntlet.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: The Antiquary.
  • Affably Evil: Claverhouse in Old Mortality, although Scott doesn't treat him as a full-blown monster.
  • Bar Sinister (Trope Maker)
  • Bonnie Scotland: Some scholars consider Scott the Trope Maker.
  • Character Title: Quite a few, including Guy Mannering, Waverley, Ivanhoe, and Quentin Durward.
  • Charity Motivation Poem: Waterloo was a veteran's benefits project for the Napoleonic Wars.
  • The Crusades: Ivanhoe, The Talisman, and Count Robert of Paris.
  • Dark Is Not Evil
  • Epistolary Novel: For part of Redgauntlet.
  • French Jerk: Frenchmen sometimes come off as less-then-likable to say the least in some of his stories. It was perhaps not coincidental that Britain was fighting a world war with France at the time.
  • The Fundamentalist: Scott had little patience for this in any form. Examples:
    • The Heart of Midlothian: Davie Deans (who eventually arrives at a grudging truce with his more moderate son-in-law).
    • Old Mortality: the Covenanters.
  • Funetik Aksent: Scott kindly provided glossaries.
  • Historical Domain Character: Everywhere. For example:
    • John Graham of Claverhouse in Old Mortality.
    • Rob Roy MacGregor in Rob Roy.
    • Queen Caroline and the Duke of Argyle (Argyll) in The Heart of Midlothian.
    • Mary, Queen of Scots in The Abbot.
    • Elizabeth I, Amy Robsart, and the Earl of Leicester in Kenilworth.
    • Louis XI of France in Quentin Durward.
    • Charles Edward Stuart (the "Young Pretender") in Redgauntlet.
    • Richard the Lion Heart in Ivanhoe.
  • Lady Macbeth: Lady Ashton in The Bride of Lammermoor.
  • Large Ham : Chesterton defended him from the charge that to many of his characters were Large Ham s by pointing out that that was what made them great characters.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: nearly all of the novels are supposedly "written" or "edited" by somebody other than Scott, with Scott the recipient of (and literary agent for) the results. The best-known of these editorial personae are Jedediah Cleishbotham, Captain Clutterbuck, Chrystal Croftangry, and Peter Pattieson.
  • Mary of Scotland: The Monastery and The Abbot.
  • Meaningful Name: He's famous for writing about Scots. He's not Walter Welsh is he?
  • Money, Dear Boy: the final novels, written as a last-ditch effort to get himself out of bankruptcy.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: the aftermath of a concealed pregnancy drives the plot in The Heart of Midlothian.
  • Not So Safe Harbor: Shetland in The Pirate. Type two. The inhabitants are friendly and law abiding and make their living fishing. But the island is hard and dangerous and the folk have traditions going back to the days of the Horny Vikings.
  • The Ophelia: Lucy Ashton in The Bride of Lammermoor; Madge Wildfire in The Heart of Midlothian.
  • Pet the Dog: One time when he was in a rush to meet a deadline he heard a dog howling while he wrote and said, "No doubt he has his woes as I have mine."
  • Pinball Protagonist: One of Scott's calling cards is the passive protagonist, who often spends most of the novel being carted around by the Action Hero. The best-known examples are the title characters in Waverley and Ivanhoe (the latter famously spends a battle sequence flat on his back in a tower, unable to see anything that's going on). Lampshaded by the protagonist of The Abbot, who, after being hit with a What the Hell, Hero?, points out with considerable exasperation that he hasn't the slightest clue what's going on, or what he's supposed to be doing.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: The Bride of Lammermoor.
  • Public Domain Character: The magician Michael Scott in Lay of the Last Minstrel.
  • Roma: Meg Merrilies in Guy Mannering.
  • Scrapbook Story: Redgauntlet combines third-person POV with an epistolary novel, then adds the inset story "Wandering Willie's Tale" for good measure. (That last is now better-known than the novel itself.)
  • Shout-Out/To Shakespeare: Several, including The Merchant of Venice (Isaac and Rebecca in Ivanhoe) and Macbeth (much of The Bride of Lammermoor).
  • Swiss With Army Knives: Anne of Gierstien. Yeah, These Swiss. the ones with sharp pointy things that they stick into people. Not the ones that make cheese, candy and watches; and coddle tourists.
  • To Hell and Back: "Wandering Willie's Tale."
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.
  • The Virgin Queen: Kenilworth.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?